MIKE BROWNE is back on the bike and after his fantastic introduction to the Newcomer and Senior Manx races at the Isle of Man last August.
Now the man from Mount Uniake, in East Cork, is going up to a whole new level in a couple of weeks time when he competes at the 2019 TT Races.
Browne has been around bikes all his life and has always held the dream of competing in the ultimate bike test on the Isle of Man and after such a fast rise through the qualification process to make the Manx in 2018 it is incredible that he will now take on the legends of the road.
The TT races began with qualification and races from May 25 and runs through until June 7 and legendary landmarks like Bray Hill, the Sulby Straight and Kate’s Cottage will soon be on the radar for Browne.
Recently Browne held a fundraiser at Kennedy’s Bar in nearby Killeagh to get as many sponsors on board as possible to compete in a race which is not cheap.
In fact, the cost of competing on the 37.73 mile (60.725km) course is very expensive and competing against the big teams is a real challenge.
The well-established teams at the TT could be putting bikes on the road worth in excess of €70,000 whereas the privateers as they are known on the Island will be operating on much smaller budgets of possible just 10% of their competition, so fundraisers like the one in Killeagh are vital.
“I was going to go to the Manx again this year, but earlier on I was promised help to go to the TT races and with that in mind I was delighted to give it a shot, but unfortunately the help promised fell through, but I am going off my own bat now and I am happy to have stuck with that decision.
“It will cost me about €20,000 to compete on the Isle of Man, so as you can imagine myself and my mechanic Hayden Walsh need all the financial support we can get and nights like the one in Kennedy’s Bar are deeply appreciated.”
Browne again this year will mount a Kawasaki 2X6R for his races in the Supersport category and already following encouraging results from Tandragee where he had fifth, seventh and eighth-placed finishes against a top-class field will give the Cork racer some confidence going into the TT arena.
Mike, who went from 24th to fourth in last year’s Senior Manx has no illusions about how difficult it is going to be.
“I did ok in the North of Ireland recently, but I am looking at this race as a real learning curve for me.
“People like Joey Dunlop have been racing at the very top level for many years and they know the course like the back of their hands and I think knowing the course that well is a huge advantage.
“I was disappointed last year with the lack of practice time, because of the weather or break downs and last year was a short race over in about 20 minutes, the TT races are over an hour long with four very demanding laps and that can take a lot out of the bike.
“So, we will see how it goes and this year I hope to learn a lot more and with qualification and practice in the TT I will get a lot more laps in which helps.”
Another thing to consider in the step up to the top level is the speed difference which is significant, plus this is Browne’s first time back on the Island since last August.
“The speed that the top racers ride at is amazing really and it is far faster than the Manx and that takes getting used to and this again is where the knowledge of the course is essential.
“I wanted to try and get back over to the Isle of Man but work commitments and other things prevented me from doing that.
“I think the extra practice laps will be a huge help to me this time around and hopefully, I can learn how to make the step up.
“It has always been a dream of mine to compete at the greatest race of them all and I will thanks to my sponsors, Whitegate Plant and Hire, Liberty Casino, Robinsons Tyres and Dave Harper Motortech because I couldn’t have competed without their support.”
Browne and Walsh made their journey across the sea to the Isle of Man on May 22 and following qualification and practice will race in the Supersport Race 1 on Monday, June 3 and Supersport Race 2 on Wednesday, June 5.
There will be plenty of media coverage of this famous 112-year-old event so keeping up with Browne’s progress shouldn’t be too difficult, for the best website to follow the 2019 TT Races.
Checkout www.iomtt.com for the latest news, results, line up’s and stories from the famous race where a certain Cork man named Mike Browne may turn a few heads.